Imagine a world without innovation. Envision a universe where dreamer’s didn’t make dreams a reality. Imagine a life without imagination. There would be no planes, trains, or automobiles. No electricity, no cell phones, and *gasp* no internet. It would still take six months by horse drawn carriage to travel coast to coast and the time couldn’t be passed by social media scrolling. We would be living “The Oregon Trail”, not playing it.
Here lies (insert name here). You have died from Smallpox.
The population did not just happen to get smarter. Our ancestors learned by doing and were taught by those that came before them. They discovered new and better ways of doing things and passed that knowledge on. As humans, we are not born with the capability to survive alone. We are learners, and growers, and we depend on the information our minds can absorb.
There is cause to credit inherent skills that fuel interest and impact a person’s career path. However, committing to a life of learning and skill growth is the fundamental difference between being mediocre and achieving greatness. As managers, it is your responsibility to identify potential leaders or growth opportunities for the individuals on your team. It is your obligation to identify the strengths and weaknesses of those you chose to put in a managerial role. It is your duty to your employees to address and close skill gaps. We must not focus solely on the hard skill competency but also the soft skill development and leadership progression. It is the employee’s burden to embrace the path to success that you are paving with knowledge.
It makes sense to put someone in a manager role that is good at what they do. They beat book time, every time. They answer the most calls and write the most orders. They know the process inside and out. Promote them right?
How can you be sure that you have the right people in the right places? That you have the most effective leaders and that they are supporting their teams as expected?
I have put people in positions when they were not fully ready to embody the magnitude of the job. Some rose to the occasion, and others sunk like a wagon attempting to cross the Kansas River. I took my losses personally but I learned something. And I keep learning everyday. The strive for knowledge, learning and growth is a never ending trail. If you happen to make it to Oregon, keep on going.